This article is part of a series produced in collaboration with the Diplomatic Courier for the ETH Zurich exhibition at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2020
Anticipating tremendous potential, big tech companies and governments are scrambling to be the first to build quantum computing devices. Unlike today’s computers that play only by the rules of classical physics, quantum computing promises a “silver bullet” solution for tasks deemed “incomputable.” This excitement adds to a sustained fascination for quantum physics since its origins more than 100 years ago. Even today, a claim in a paper published in a scientific journal about fundamental quantum waves (or particles) has a good chance of making it into the daily news cycle. This ongoing interest stems from the fact that quantum mechanics lies outside of our personal experience of the natural world and contains philosophically challenging notions that spark debates - even among experts.
The current interest in society demands that researchers convey the inner workings of quantum computers through terms in which the public can relate. However, physicists see the abstract world through the lens of mathematical structures – a language not easily translated to a layperson…
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